25 Oct2009

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For some reason the Japanese have really taken food (and other) packaging to incredibly lofty levels. A visit to any major Tokyo department store’s food hall is always so incredibly awe-inspiring. So it didn’t surprise me at all when I spied a very eye-catching section of pork products for sale at the grocery and realized they were imported from Japan raised in the Philippines to Japanese standards. The meat was incredibly pink-red, beautifully cut and nicely packaged. On closer inspection, the “Waton” brand pork claimed to be Japanese organically raised pork, and at PHP499.75 a kilo, was a bit pricey, but a small package, good for two people came out to PHP145 pesos, so I decided to buy some and see if they were worth the premium…

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When I got home, I immediately took out a cast iron hot plate like those used for sizzling dishes at basement food courts, and laid it over a burner on the stovetop; I turned the flames under it about 10 minutes before I was ready to serve the meal. Next, I took the thinly sliced organic pork out of its package and marinated it in a bottle Japanese pre-mixed teriyaki sauce for about 20 minutes. I heated up a cast iron pan and added the slices of pork belly (very similar to a thick bacon cut) and cooked it for just 30-60 seconds on each side, just to sear it and brown it a bit. I transferred the pork onto the hot plate that was now very hot and brought it straight to the table to serve with steamed rice and a sauteed vegetable dish. The verdict? OMG, SO VERY, VERY GOOD. For something that you can do in less than 5 minutes (plus marinating time), this is incredibly delicious fast food. And at PHP75-90 per person, surprisingly economical for an organic, imported pork belly. If you are a pork fan, this is a tremendous way to get a fast fix for a modest cost. Yum.

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COMMENTS:

  1. Betchay says:

    Looks very good! Where did you buy the pork MM?

    Oct 25, 2009 | 8:52 am

     
  2. Marketman says:

    Betchay, Rustan’s meat department.

    Oct 25, 2009 | 8:57 am

     
  3. Dale says:

    MM, this looks amazing!

    Oct 25, 2009 | 9:31 am

     
  4. chip says:

    I saw flyers for Waton pork at hatchin. It claims that their pork is actually good for your heart and has anti-ageing properties, haha. Reminds me of the overused joke that pork is pampabata because you won’t grow old if you eat too much of it. On a side note, I’ve always thought their hogs were grown locally?

    Oct 25, 2009 | 9:58 am

     
  5. paolo says:

    makes me want to have bacon for lunch…. with fried eggs and chorizo recado on the side…!!

    Oct 25, 2009 | 10:16 am

     
  6. APM says:

    Hi Marketman,

    As far as I know the Waton brand is raised in the Philippines by Japanese. The people behind it are related to the New Hachin grocery in Kamagong. Their sliced pork belly makes an excellent substitute for bacon. Their pork supposedly has great levels of Omega 3 in them.

    Oct 25, 2009 | 10:23 am

     
  7. zena says:

    Wow, I guess this helps your argument of feeding your Zubuchon pigs with natural feed for at least 2 weeks, MM. You are indeed what you eat. Or in this case, the pig is what they are fed.

    Oct 25, 2009 | 11:03 am

     
  8. Johnny says:

    hmmmm…last week we had our orientation about Saudi. The indian ask what is a pork? They replied its a white pig meat. heheheh. maybe he’s a vegetarian. Kubuta-san ni!!! no good….They will bring you to Jail. Now i miss my adobo….wahhhhhhh

    Oct 25, 2009 | 12:01 pm

     
  9. myra_p says:

    Little Tokyo shabu shabu/hot pots have had Waton pork options for a while now… I would buy it retail if I knew for sure that I’m paying 499/kg for real organic pork. How to verify??

    Oct 25, 2009 | 1:24 pm

     
  10. farida says:

    MM, read the article about you online of Sunstar. Thanks for that sinigang na lechon recipe. Must try it. Am still dreaming of your lechon. Maybe, you are giving away na the marmalade this minute. :>). Love that veggie side dish.

    Oct 25, 2009 | 1:39 pm

     
  11. Marketman says:

    Chip and APM, thank you for that, I assumed it was imported. I will revise post, thanks! But it still tasted great.

    Oct 25, 2009 | 2:51 pm

     
  12. rpgteemd says:

    That looks absolutely delicious! Will try it within the week

    Oct 25, 2009 | 4:59 pm

     
  13. chip says:

    Hmmm, now I’m wondering what a whole waton pig roasted zubuchon a la marketman would taste like! I’m sure it’ll be great =)

    Oct 25, 2009 | 9:18 pm

     
  14. Morgan says:

    Looks yummy. What brand of teriyaki sauce do you use, MM? I’m sure you will think of other great ways to marinate it.

    Oct 25, 2009 | 9:20 pm

     
  15. joyce says:

    ohh thats great that there are more choices for meat in manila now. will try this when i fly in for xmas. chopsuey side dish?

    Oct 25, 2009 | 10:43 pm

     
  16. denise says:

    started reading about the cream dory with black beans post…got slightly hungry…then onto the ham soup post and got hungry….and now this post….dreaming i was home…and my baon of pork giniling looks so unappealing now

    Oct 25, 2009 | 11:17 pm

     
  17. kurzhaar says:

    off topic here…Marketman, the photo on the home page was of a cashew fruit, I am guessing? Is the nut actually blue? Very odd!

    Oct 26, 2009 | 2:14 am

     
  18. Bong says:

    Mouth watering!!!

    Oct 26, 2009 | 4:18 am

     
  19. Vicky Go says:

    Sounds delish! Aren’t you supposed to cook pork until really well-done to prevent “trichinosis”? But then again, because it’s sliced thin like bacon maybe the 30-60 sec (per side?) would be sufficient. Would plain slab bacon lend itself to the same prep? Would it be too salty? Did these have the skin on as regular fresh pork belly would?

    Oct 26, 2009 | 4:57 am

     
  20. kurzhaar says:

    Modern pork does not carry trichinosis. The dated teaching to cook “until really well done” results in dried out, leathery pork…especially if you are using the typical supermarket lean pork of today. Most restaurants nowadays will ask you how you would like your pork done, just as they do if you ask for beef, lamb, etc… Personally, I think that most meats should never be cooked “well done”…but then I admit to loving rare or even raw meat (and I know that some people are just grossed out by that). Even chicken and turkey can be cooked to where they are perfectly safe to eat but short of being dried out!

    Oct 26, 2009 | 8:04 am

     
  21. mommy says:

    Hi MM, your vegetable side dish looks yummy as well.

    Oct 26, 2009 | 10:00 am

     
  22. Muzzy says:

    Here’s the website of the company that raises the Waton pork:

    http://www.maligayameat.com/products/index.html

    They actually feed the pigs what sounds like probiotics (good bacteria) instead of giving them antibiotics, which I thought was really interesting.

    Oct 26, 2009 | 10:28 am

     
  23. Marketman says:

    Muzzy, thanks for the link, it is very interesting. Now I want to raise fully organic pigs in a mango fruit orchard… hmmm, ideas, ideas…

    Oct 26, 2009 | 11:46 am

     
  24. Peach says:

    Hehehe! When Muzzy mentioned probiotics, I kind of imagined the Waton pigs being bottle fed with Yakult. Spoiled!

    Oct 26, 2009 | 1:29 pm

     
  25. Lee says:

    If pigs can fly Super Pork Waton will be its name.

    Oct 26, 2009 | 1:47 pm

     
  26. Maria says:

    Hi MM,

    Bought Waton pork at Rustan’s about a month ago and made adobo and nilaga separately. Both were incredibly good and tender. Would your crew be after you to raise your own Waton pigs next? What would you call your Waton pig cooked ala zubochon? Think of the other possibilities: ham, bacon, sausages – yum! Think Excelente ham for Christmas without the guilt. I will line up definitely. Saw the dory recipe too – thanks. I’ve been thinking of other ways to cook this fish; very timely post.

    Oct 26, 2009 | 2:33 pm

     
  27. Blaise says:

    Looking at the company’s website, these are happy pigs!

    Oct 26, 2009 | 5:08 pm

     
  28. roelm says:

    Hi MM,
    If they are grazing, it looks like their fat will be relatively high in omega-3 fatty acids as opposed to the omega-6 fatty acids they will be getting if they are grain-fed.

    As to the probiotics used, are they doing fermentation of the hog food before it is fed? If so, they may be imitating what the ruminants do naturally using their four-chambered stomachs… I have encountered this type of fermentation technology used in Tiaong, Quezon …

    Oct 26, 2009 | 6:18 pm

     
  29. Connie C says:

    Muzzy, interesting website. Thanks.

    Sorry, ever the paranoid and skeptic, hopefully they test those rivers periodically for contamination from run off especially that it sounds like hog raising on a giant scale for global consumption.

    Do we have environmental laws in Pinas on how these farms handle their massive waste? Maybe recycled for fertilizing the cornfields where the super hogs roam freely? How about enforcement? I thought I’d ask. In the US, large poultry farms have moved their “dirty activities” to Mexico where laws are less restrictive if they have any at all. While we may be enjoying our super Waton pork, think of the community downstream who may be bathing and doing their laundry if not drinking out of the river waters. Aargh! A good start though.

    Oct 26, 2009 | 7:11 pm

     
  30. Vanessa says:

    Hi Marketman. The teriyaki looks delectable, but my eyes immediately went to the vegetable dish you paired the pork with, shown in the last photo. What do you call this vegetable dish? I was going to look for its recipe in your archives. Thank you!

    Oct 26, 2009 | 7:41 pm

     
  31. Joey says:

    MM, during cooking, did you put oil or just laid the bacon on the cast iron?

    Oct 27, 2009 | 12:14 am

     
  32. Marketman says:

    Joey, no oil necessary, just lay them on the hot cast iron. The vegetable dish was just sauteed napa cabbage and snow peas with a little leftover pancetta or you could use bacon or a little of this pork belly as well. Just stir-fry for a few minutes and add salt and pepper to taste. Connie C, I wouldn’t know the details of the Waton pork, but those photos of the pigs on pasture sure look a lot better than the piggeries I have seen, and THEIR obvious lack of proper drainage and sewage… roelm, the interesting thing about the meat is that it was much pinker, so clearly different from penned in pigs. They reminded me a little of wild boar meat, but nowhere near as red as that. Blaise, yes, happy does seem a more apt description. Though I read somewhere once that pigs in the wild can go ferile? within months and revert to being snorting aggressive wild animals… that would be pretty cool to watch in a way. Maria, I would love to have purely organically raised pigs as well, but I suspect the cost of a free-range, mango, chico and vegetable fed pig would be roughly PHP18,000-20,000 per 40 kilo pig as opposed to say PHP4,000 for a piggery style, commercially fed pig… imagine selling a PHP25,000 lechon? Yikes. Lee, too funny.

    Oct 27, 2009 | 7:58 am

     
  33. mommy says:

    Hi MM, hope you’ll give details of your vegetable dish as well, as it really looks delectable. Thanks

    Oct 27, 2009 | 8:17 am

     
  34. Marketman says:

    mommy, slice up some napa cabbage, clean some snow peas of their tough ends/string, then saute some bacon or pancetta or ham with some chopped onions, and over high heat, saute the veggies until just done. Serve hot. You may add a bit of vegetable oil at the beginning if you think the pancetta or bacon won’t render enough lard for the dish…

    Oct 27, 2009 | 10:37 am

     
  35. Johnny Sinon says:

    Hi Market Man, would like to ask which branch of Rustans supermarket you were able to get the Waton pork? Its not available in Shangri-la. Thanks

    Oct 29, 2009 | 6:43 pm

     
  36. Cecilia says:

    Pork! Pork! Pork! Love this site!

    Oct 30, 2009 | 7:08 pm

     
  37. Marketman says:

    Cecilia, we do occasionally do vegetables and fruit… :) Johnny, Rustan’s Rockwell had the waton pork.

    Oct 30, 2009 | 8:12 pm

     
 

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